Canal Boats, Cornwall, and Cowboys

Delighted to announce that my short story ‘The Swans’ has been accepted for publication in Black Static, by TTA Press. It’s the magazine where I started out, publishing my first ever submission ‘Viva Las Vegas’ back in 2008, and has been a frequent home for me ever since. It’s a great magazine and I’m thrilled to be back among those dark pages. ‘The Swans’ will be my 15th appearance. 

The story was originally written for an Arthur Machen tribute anthology (which I hope will still be published because it sounded like it was shaping up to be a fantastic book). This means it’s a slower, stranger tale than some of my others; less overtly ‘horror’, more of a psychological study with a sprinkling of bizarre. Set on one of England’s canals (Machen liked canals) it’s based, in part, on one of my own narrow-boat experiences. It also takes a little inspiration from the story of Leda and the Swan. A little. And that’s all I’ll say about it for now.


In other news, Terror Tales of Cornwall has now been published. There was some delay due to a change in publisher and the editor’s own busy schedule (the editor being the prolific Paul Finch) but now the book is out there in the world. It contains my story ‘In the Light of St Ives’ which was inspired by a very short interview in an episode of Coast, an artist talking about the magnificent light of the place and how it affects your appreciation of certain colours. The book is available from Telos.

The cover art is by Neil Williams.

Here’s the table of contents:

“We Who Sing Beneath the Ground” by Mark Morris

Golden Days of Terror

“In the Light of St Ives” by Ray Cluley

Morgawr Rising

“Trouble at Botathan” by Reggie Oliver

From the Lady Downs

“‘Mebyon versus Suna’” by John Whitbourn

The Serpent of Pengersick

“The Unseen” by Paul Edwards

Finned Angels, Fish-Tailed Devils

“Dragon Path” by Jacqueline Simpson

Jamaica Inn

“The Old Traditions Are Best” by Paul Finch

Guardians of the Castle

“The Uncertainty of All Earthly Things” by Mark Valentine

The Hooper

“His Anger Was Kindled” by Kate Farrell

The Bodmin Fetch

“Four Windows and a Door” by DP Watt


“Claws” by Steve Jordan

The Cursing Psalm

“A Beast by Any Other Name” by Adrian Cole

Of the Demon, Tregeagle

“Moon Blood-Red, Tide Turning” by Mark Samuels

Slaughter at Penryn

“The Memory of Stone” by Sarah Singleton

Queen of the Wind

“Shelter from the Storm” by Ian Hunter

The Voice in the Tunnels

“Losing Its Identity” by Thana Niveau


Apart from those stories, there’s been an acceptance or two (okay, two) I can’t talk about yet, and a lot of work on a novella for Horrific Tales. A novella which is trying to become a novel. 50,000 words and counting. I’ve been cutting as I redraft to keep the word count down but if a novel is what it really wants to be, then a novel it shall become. We shall see. Graeme Reynolds, who originally asked for the piece, has been very patient (“I’d rather have it right than right now”) but hopefully it’ll be finished this month. It’s called Dark Horses. It focuses on a woman called Tillie, the Montana cowboys in her life, and a mysterious dark horse that plagues her…


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4 Responses to Canal Boats, Cornwall, and Cowboys

  1. Fans like myself are so pleased to see your star continue to rise! Congratulations!

  2. stevenjdines says:

    Congrats on all the successes, Ray. Very much looking forward to reading Dark Horses when it’s finished.

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